Category Archives: United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection @ The Science Museum


If you haven’t yet been able to see this exhibition, and you are a photographer, then please make this a New Year resolution. It’s at the London Science Museum, until March 1st, 2015.

It’s not just a collection of nice images. It literally traces the history of photography with a unique eye. And whilst it is focused (pardon the pun) on the images, the exhibition also allows visitors to ponder camera technology development, too – not in technical terms, but by showing what the cameras could do.

To quote the website:

Founded in 1853, the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Collection is now held at the National Media Museum, Bradford as part of the National Photography Collection. With over 250,000 images, 8,000 items of photographic equipment and 31,000 books, periodicals and documents, it’s one of the most important and comprehensive photographic collections in the world.

Early photographers such as Roger Fenton (co-founder of the RPS), William Henry Fox Talbot and Julia Margaret Cameron are represented, alongside modern photographers such as Don McCullin, Terry O’Neill and Martin Parr. Nièpce’s heliographs and Fox Talbot’s experimental cameras are also on display.

“… photography … is used alike by art and science, by love, business, and justice; is found in the most sumptuous saloon, and in the dingiest attic – in the solitude of the Highland cottage, and in the glare of the London gin-palace, in the pocket of the detective, in the cell of the convict, in the folio of the painter and architect, among the papers and patterns of the mill owner and manufacturer, and on the cold brave breast on the battle-field.”

Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, the wife of Charles Eastlake, the first President of the Photographic Society, The London Quarterly Review, April 1857

A very inspirational show, with much to study and learn.

Image: Portrait of Christina, Mervyn O’Gorman, c.1913 © The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL

London November 5th Protests

Yesterday, I was at a lecture at the House of Commons, listening to Prof. Vlatka Hlupic suggest ways for business Leaders to better engage their employees. It was an interesting lecture, with some new ideas and tools to help make this long-term organizational goal actually happen.

But as I stepped outside, another world unfolded. It was the tail-end of the “Million Mask March” protest in Parliament Square, liberally sprinkled with the “Occupy Democracy” movement. Lots of Guy Fawkes masks. Remember V for Vendetta, the movie? Well, art had become reality in central London.

Loved this report from the UK Mirror newspaper.

“Anonymous ‘Million Mask March': Huge police presence as thousands of masked protesters gather in central London. Thousands of anti-capitalist activists – including self-proclaimed revolutionary Russell Brand – have taken to the streets of central London to protest against “political oppression”.

Demonstrators wearing the sinister Guy Fawkes masks popularised in the 2005 film V for Vendetta and carrying banners and placards converged on Trafalgar Square before marching towards Parliament Square at 6.30pm.

Protesters chanted anti-establishment slogans as they milled around, and some who had climbed on to the base of Nelson’s Column let off fireworks. There was a heavy police presence at both Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, as well as along Whitehall, with officers carrying riot gear, but the protest began peacefully.

There was a chorus of boos and whistles as an officer from the Metropolitan Police warned protesters about their behaviour over a loud hailer. The protest, the so-called Million Masks March, was organised by activist group Anonymous”.

Sinister masks? Really! Looked more like carnival time to me! Honestly, as far as I could tell, except for a few heated moments and the odd arrest, it was a very “British” protest. The cops were smiling (most of the time) and were acting with great restraint and good humour. Most of the marchers seemed like they were on a late night picnic.

And everyone (police as well) was taking pictures on their phones.

Funnily enough, I couldn’t see any “real” journalists as the night developed. I guess most had taken photos of the initial protest gathering in the Square, and then went home to file.

I decided to follow the march, as it spread across London. Kind of caught the police by surprise, I think, at Buckingham Palace, though all was fairly civilised.

Along the way, a Russian lady, first time visitor to the UK, from St. Petersburg for the World Travel Mart, asked me what was going on. She seemed bemused to hear that the Brits celebrate the ultimate (failed) terrorist act, performed by Guy Fawkes, as he tried to blow up Parliament. “What are you celebrating?” she asked. Hard to anwer, I replied, though “Free Speech” comes to mind. And the protestors had simply appropriated this age-old British fireworks celebration.

Much to my chagrin, I did not have the Leica, just the iPhone. So, I wondered just what could be done in low light with the iPhone 6.

I don’t claim the pictures are great, but it does add to the revolution that we are seeing in citizen journalism.

The Barricades at Parliament Square


V, Posing


Guardians at Big Ben (should say, The Elizabeth Tower)

On Guard

What We Want

What We Want

Scuffle on Birdcage Walk …


… and an arrest


Circling back on Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus

Still Walking

Walking All Night

.. and the Watchers

The Watchers

Poppies, Selfies and Inspiration

The art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marks one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat over the summer. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war. The poppies encircle the Tower, and all of the poppies will be sold, with proceeds shared equally amongst six service charities.

The installation has really caught a nerve in the British psyche, with crowds increasing over time and all the poppies are already sold.

What fascinated me, though, was the “poppies selfie”. Cameras and phones everywhere, photos of everything. That human desire to connect, to connect to others, to share what one is doing, and to be part of something.

All play a role. But what was totally inspirational was that everyone seemed to be there for a reason, and to honour the fallen. Despite the crowds it was calm, peaceful and thoughtful.

The Americans say “Thank you for your Service”.

Brits, with a stiff upper lip, do not.

“Thank you for you Service” seems appropriate.


Poppies and Selfies

Capture the moment

Poppies and Selfies

Proud Grandparents

Poppies and Selfies

A family event

Poppies and Selfies

All images Leica M-P, with Elmarit-M 28MM F/2.8, processed in Color Efex Pro

Oxford & Photography

I was in Oxford this week, always a beautiful city to visit. Here’s a couple of highlights.

First, the Museum of the History of Science. It’s a fascinating place, with a vast range of exhibits. MHS houses an unrivalled collection of early scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford.

As a photographer, I was of course most interested in the wonderful camera collection.

The museum has two cameras used by Lawrence of Arabia. He graduated with a First in Modern History from Oxford in 1910. Later that year, Lawrence had a camera built for him specifically for taking high-quality photographs of crusader castles. It is this “archaeological” camera that is now in the Museum’s collection. Here it is:

 Oxford Science Museum

Then, I took in the view from the top of the Sheldonian Theatre. This is the official ceremonial hall of the University of Oxford. Whilst I had visited Theatre before (including for the first ever TED Global event), I had never climbed the stairs to the roof. The cupola on top looks oddly out of place, though there’s a magnificent 360 view across Oxford.

This image was taken towards the bridge at Hertford College.

Herford College

I also paid a visit to the Oxford Photography Festival. It’s an ambitious endeavour, with exhibits spread across the Colleges, Museums and Halls of Oxford.

The Festival is on until October 5th – well worth the trip!

Nunney Fayre with the D810

Continuing to explore the Nikon D810 on the streets, this time at Nunney Street Market & Fayre.

Using the Nikkor 35mm F/1.8, the camera is fast, quiet and relatively unobtrusive. As in previous tests, the new 5 point Group Area AF mode worked a treat with moving street subjects. It’s a perfect street image tool.

Images post processed in Lightroom with Silver Efex Pro.

The Bathampton Morris Men




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